Postmodernism and Business Ethics

The postmodern perspective on ethics emerged as a critique of what Alasdair MacIntyre, in After Virtue, has called the “Enlightenment project” for justifying a human-centered system of moral sense making. In pre-18th-century Europe, ethical norms served as external guideposts to help humans journey toward a preordained transcendental purpose, or telos, as revealed in the Greek concept of the good or the Christian vision of the godly life. The Enlightenment faith in science as an extension of human rationality undercut dependence on the teleological assumption that an external “great chain of being” linking all life forms to a higher purpose could provide an external justification for moral precepts that guide human actions. Thus, a self-consciously modern justification for creating and maintaining a moral order requires a ...

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